DEARBORN, MI - Ford will debut its hands-free liftgate on the seven-seater Ford C-MAX, which will be shown next month at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, Jan. 10-23.

The hands-free liftgate is enabled by Intelligent Access with push-button start, allowing users to unlock and start their vehicles without ever having to take out the key. When the key fob is in their possession - kept in a pocket, coat, purse, or briefcase - a simple pull on the door handle unlocks the vehicle. Once inside the vehicle, the driver simply holds down the brake pedal and presses the power button to start the vehicle.

In conjunction with the Intelligent Access system, there are two sensors located in the rear bumper. One detects the shin and the other detects the leg motion to enable the hands-free liftgate. The customer simply needs to possess the Intelligent Access key fob and gently wave his or her foot under the bumper to operate the feature.

Additionally, the liftgate height can be programmed or adjusted manually to meet specific customer needs.

The combination of the system detecting the key fob and leg motion is necessary to unlock and open the liftgate and safeguards against any accidental opening, such as any animals running under the vehicle, hitting a bump on the road, and similar unintended gestures, according to Ford.

The hands-free liftgate is a customer-focused solution, like SYNC and EcoBoost, which can be implemented in other vehicles around the globe.